A First Nation in southwestern Saskatchewan is now charging its own goods and services tax — with the money coming back to the band.
The Nekaneet First Nation is the second reserve in the province to collect First Nations GST (FN-GST), the first being Whitecap Dakota First Nation.
The tax gets sent to Ottawa and the federal government cuts the band a cheque. FN-GST money will go into the band's general revenues.
Under the old system, the government kept any GST collected on Nekaneet reserve land from non-First Nations people.
The catch is that from now on, First Nations people who had previously not paid the tax must do so.
Even so, according to Nekaneet Chief Jordi Fourhorns, the impact on individual band members will be small.
"The only impact they're going to see is on their utility bills," Fourhorns said. "Maybe $4 or $5 a month on each bill, but that's very small in comparison to the gains we're going to get on the tax."
Fourhorns said the band is hoping to bring in $40,000 a month, money which could be used for economic development.
Nekaneet wants to generate tax revenue at the Living Sky Casino in Swift Current and on office space it owns in Regina. Both properties are on Nekaneet urban reserves.
"The majority of the First Nations have high population rates on their reserve and they will have to charge that tax on to their people, whereas for us, we basically charge the tax on all of our urban reserve properties, which are at least two hours away from our home reserve," he said.
Whitecap started collecting its own GST three years ago..